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Auntie Michele E. Lee

Secretary

Michele E. Lee is a multi-disciplinary Soul who has worked in the creative arts for 40 years as an exhibiting artist, activist, writer, curator, author, historian, cultural anthropologist and educator.   


Her life works are listed below:



Author, Historian, Cultural Anthropologist

For six years, commencing in 1996, Ms. Lee documented the practice of Traditional African American healing. Starting with her own family lineage and healers who are from Mississippi, Louisiana and Virgina, Ms. Lee branched out to locate other healers in the south and parts of the eastern seaboard, weaving in and out of several indigenous nations. This journey took her to base herself in the south and live down a dirt road in rural North Carolina for 4 years. She sought out other healers throughout the south/southeast by word of mouth and often traversed through the backwoods with them looking for medicine plants. Ms. Lee apprenticed with several of the elders who shared their practice and knowledge with her. Her book, Working The Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing is the culmination of this sojourn!



Activism

  • Chair of Art Against Apartheid for the SF Bay Area actively involved in protesting against racism in South Africa and here on our home turf in the USA and against the growing homeless population in the 1980s to today.

  • Currently she works with and is a tribal member of the Afro-descendant Nation USA which is recognized by the Organization of American States.  Her work with them involves national liberation, decolonization, sovereignty, repair-a-tions/restoration and creating safe thriving communities for Afro-descendants in the USA.


Art Exhibitions and Residences

Ms. Lee is a visual artist who has exhibited at museums, galleries, universities and art parks.  Some of Lee's more notable exhibitions were at The Alternative Musuem in NYC, Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY), Santa Monica Museum of Art (Santa Monica, CA), Le Chambre Blanche (Quebec, Canada), Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in NY, University Art Museum (U.C. Santa Cruz), California African American Museum (Los Angeles), Sargent Johnson Gallery (San Francisco). She worked in the medium of painting, sculpture, installation, large scale earthworks and performance.


Ms. Lee has held artist residencies at Skowhegan (Maine), Socrates Art Park (NY) and Long Island University (NY). 


Wadastick Artists and Scholars Residency and Cultural Center, Co-founder and Executive Director

In 1998, Ms. Lee co-founded Wadastick Artists and Scholars Residency and Cultural Center in rural North Carolina.  The residency hosted artists from across the country and had sites at the Tuscarora Indian Nation, St. Helena Sea Island, South Carolina, in the heart of the Gullah culture and in, El Potrero, Mexico, a small clay-building village. Wadastick ran successfully for six years.


Curatorial positions:

  • Visual Arts Curator for the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Curated exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley, CA, 

  • Sargent Johnson Gallery in San Francisco 

  • Long Island University Galleries.


Education / Teaching

  • Ms. Lee has taught art as adjunct professor at:

  • The University of Rochester, Art Department

  • U.C. Berkeley, Department of Art Practice

  • California College of the Arts and 

  • other public and private institutions nationwide. 


  • Ms. Lee holds a California Teaching Credential and currently teaches at a public school in east Oakland, CA -- her most challenging career yet! 


Lee holds a Masters degree from The University of Southern California, Bachelor's degree from Antioch College and an A.A. degree from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco.  


Ms. Lee resides in Oakland, CA and has two grown children, a son and daughter.


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Mother Davina D. Estrella Ramey

Founder/President/Program Management/ Facilitator 

Mother DavinaEstrella is an Afro-Indigenous Cajun/Creole multi dimensional artist whom serves the community in a myriad of ways. Her ancestors hail from Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Canada, the Carribean,  various African and some European Nations via love and colonization. Her personal mission is to create a healing society by doing her own inner work, holding space for others to do theirs, studying, reclaiming and teaching ancestral traditions, in order to building a strong reciprocal relationship to all life forms. 
Mama Davina is a:●Peer Counselor ●At Risk Youth Mentor ●Craftswoman ●Certified Community Herbalist ●Full Spectrum Doula ●Spiritualist ●Performing Artist ● Educator


Mama Davina has so far founded: ●Water and Honey Community Well●Incense Gurl, Handcrafted Fragrant Wares ●Davina D. Estrella Ramey's, Full Spectrum Birth Services
Estrella has thus far furthered her education in birth with: 
●Shafia Monroe, International Center for Traditional Childbearing (Now Shafia Monroe Consulting)
●Samsarah Therese Morgan, Shiphrah Circle Doulas 
●Maria Ascension Ramos Bracamontes of,  Como Te Amo Midwifery's, Traditional Closing of the Bones Ceremony ( Sealings) and Postpartum Trainings 
Estrella is also a Certified Community Herbalist through:
●Indigenous Remedies, Community Herbalist Certification Course
Estrella trained in Trauma Informed Care and Support Through:
●Aremisa May's, Keepers of the Womb training
●Catholic Charities Day Star, Trauma Informed and Csec Mentor program
● Nola Brantly Speaks, Trauma Informed Care Csec training.
●Inside Circle Foundation, Peer Counseling 
Davina has studied Traditional Music and Cultural Arts of the Yoruba Ifa/ Lucumi Tradition for 7 years with
●Omnira Institute 

DavinaEstrella seeks to complete her highschool proficiency exams and eventually  become a Traditional Midwife as well as is currently studying to Become an Iyanifa in the Yoruba tradition of Ifa.
Mrs Ramey knows from personal experience it takes a village to raise a child. She is a survivor of human trafficking and a former addict, in recovery for 15 years. She says often "Without my children, my elders and mentors I don't  know where I would be." Davina would like to bring that same support and healing to others. 
Mrs Ramey is a wife and mother of 7 biological children, one step-son a daughter in love, one grandbaby, and 3 fur babies. Mama Estrella continues to be a Mentor and Mama/Big Sister/Auntie to many youth and peers in the community. 

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Iya Ifawemimo Salako

Executive Director 

Hardworking, Experienced, Intuitive  Intelligent, Motivated. Iya Ifawemimo brings her expertise in corporate management and well as spirituality and health and wellness to the table to help propel Water and Honey to it highest potential!